Is mail not effective anymore?

29 replies
I've been temporarily working at a plumbers office for the past 3 months. We got on average 3-4 phone calls per week from companies trying to sell us SEO or some other kind of online service. But in the past three months we haven't received one letter in the mail from a company trying to do the same. I understand mail cost money, but is it really not effective?
#anymore #effective #mail
  • Profile picture of the author OutOfThisWord
    Mail is effective but is not as knee jerk as 'cold calling.'

    Any product, any business, any service - they all start with "man wouldn't it be great if we could hire a salesman to (bring us money) and then we give him/her back a little slice of the money."

    So they immediately launch into telemarketing.

    Why not mail, oh that costs...

    ...yet telemarketing costs too. Fact is, you will often have to call a prospect as many as 7 times just to get to the point of them saying, "o.k., send me some more info."

    So why not start with sending the info first and then let the hot prospects raise their hand for help and then spend all your time following up qualified leads?

    And the prospects who don't call at least glimpse at your offer and that can help you next week, month or year. If you don't speak to anyone on a cold call you've accomplished nothing.

    Mail is highly effective, especially in B2B because smart managers are ALWAYS looking for ways to do anything faster, better, and cheaper and will at least take a quick look at your mail offer and if you've got a good mailer, you'll get good business.

    But to be successful with direct mail, you can't haul off and launch a program like you can with telemarketing and then the next week make a post about why it isn't working.

    Telemarketing is part of a well thought out Lead Generation and Follow-Up Program...

    ...not a diet pill the way too many marketers use it and then when it doesn't work, they search for the next miracle diet pill.

    Direct mail success consists of watching everything like a hawk, the highly targeted list, the super relevant (even personalized) offer and sales copy that actually sells.

    So the reason your current employer gets a ton of SEO, web design, and mobile app calls is because the companies calling really don't know how to market.

    They act like cowboys riding full steam and firing at everything in sight with no regard to anything but the next meal.

    How does any of them expect to tell an effective story online or off for any client when they can't tell their own story in a direct mail letter or postcard that can be profitably mailed again and again?
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    • Profile picture of the author jiangbo
      A call gives people direct feeling, you can hear one's voice and it is real, which can never be provided by mail or email.
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  • Profile picture of the author SashaLee
    Hi there,

    Direct mail (when planned properly) is the only marketing medium you can test with granularity and monitor responses in a way that allows you to know spending X will get you Y.

    You should think of mailings as structured campaigns - not one-off mail pieces. One-time mailers are tough to make work unless you have a unique angle/gimmick/call to action that is compelling enough to get the prospect to act.

    All the best,

    Sasha.
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  • Profile picture of the author doctor973
    Hi, I liked the answer of OutOfthisWord, but I must add that using mailing (and also fax) is still of great effectivness when (as everything else) used properly. I mean, mailing alone is not effective anymore. But it is of great effect if it's used in combination with cold calling. For example, it's much effective to call someone and say "I am calling about the mail delivered to you on may 14..." than to say: "Hey I have an offer to give you". I have a whole course teaching these stuff but you could also check the teachings of Chet Holmes, I consider him the "master of telemarketing". I've personally used this method (cold calling + mailing) for a book I published and was looking for big companies partnership. The result was greatly awesome: I've got a meeting with a top executive of the RED Cross in Spain in just a few minutes! So, mailing does work, but it must be done with intelligence and not in bulk!
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    • Profile picture of the author ronr
      Actually since fewer people are using it, direct mail can be more effective. I used to get so much more direct mail than I do now. So when I do get something in the mail it stands out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Slate Marketing
    What you described in the original post is exactly the reason why direct mail is TOTALLY effective! We use it and get outstanding results with it. Why? Because hardly anyone else does, so you stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way) and it attracts clients amazingly well.

    I highly recommend direct mail for almost every type of business. When done right, you can dominate with it very quickly.
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  • Profile picture of the author massiveray
    I recently sent out 50 hand written letters (well, a printout of search results showing negative review, with red circles and a quick note) selling reputation management services, got 28 replies, phone calls or email.

    Sold 11 of them.would have sold more if I was cheaper.

    If its the right offer presented in the right way, direct mail is a very very effective delivery system.

    For general SEO I'm not sure how effective it would be, might get something planned out this week and test it. My brain says it won't work, but that don't mean shit until I have the stats.
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    • Profile picture of the author Slate Marketing
      Originally Posted by massiveray View Post

      My brain says it won't work, but that don't mean shit until I have the stats.
      So true! Wish more people thought like this. Good luck and let me know how it goes.
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      • Profile picture of the author EmmaGraham
        Originally Posted by Slate Marketing View Post

        So true! Wish more people thought like this. Good luck and let me know how it goes.
        Totally agree, too!
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    • Profile picture of the author ronr
      What types of business where you targeting? I know someone who did a similar test, even mailed it in a plastic bag to dentists and got zero response.

      Originally Posted by massiveray View Post

      I recently sent out 50 hand written letters (well, a printout of search results showing negative review, with red circles and a quick note) selling reputation management services, got 28 replies, phone calls or email.

      Sold 11 of them.would have sold more if I was cheaper.

      If its the right offer presented in the right way, direct mail is a very very effective delivery system.

      For general SEO I'm not sure how effective it would be, might get something planned out this week and test it. My brain says it won't work, but that don't mean shit until I have the stats.
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      • Profile picture of the author massiveray
        Originally Posted by ronr View Post

        What types of business where you targeting? I know someone who did a similar test, even mailed it in a plastic bag to dentists and got zero response.
        I guess you could call it the legal niche but we spread the criteria pretty thin, anything that could be considered legal and had some bad rep we sent them a letter.

        Nothing like a plastic bag or any of that nonsense just a hand written envelope.

        I've had loads of discussions about this with people and your friend (I'm guessing was American) probably was targeting people who were a little more battle hardened to direct mail, the UK seems to be more receptive.
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  • Profile picture of the author EmmaGraham
    Wherever possible, just call first, tell them that you've prepared a report for "owners name" and that you'll be dropping it in this afternoon. "Could you ensure that 'owner' receives it personally?". That will ensure your message is read, but then - of course - you need to make sure that what they're reading dangles enough of a carrot to make them call for an appointment.

    Forget flyers, forget postcards, business cards, whatever.... you really need to be creating personalised reports and then you'll probably achieve a 50%+ response rate. That gets you in the door and then you turn up with a complete report that shows them everything that they're currently doing wrong.

    "Want me to fix that stuff for you?" is the only sales question I've ever asked.

    Job done. Seriously...

    ~ Emma
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  • Profile picture of the author trader909
    Banned
    cold call/mail = spam

    Blind email is condoned and called spam..even illegl.

    but it' fine to phone spam?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Bratcher
      It's summer. Maybe they are all on vacation?

      Seriously though, I wouldn't overthink the absence of mailers from SEO companies. Most of these are large national or global startups that call, mail, and market their product by brute force. They usually don't offer anything special even if they do have a unique selling point (USP).

      We the money is there, direct mailers are one of my favorite ways to market. Just make sure you a have a killer targeting campaign for businesses or else you could lose a lot of money fast.

      As long as you do proper research for your market and frame your offer around that market, direct mail still gives an incredible response and ROI.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    Direct mail works great for me, even with a combination of increasing combination whom uses direct mail like me to target the same prospects, along with an on-going, fundamental slowing of response rates for my particular life insurance niche.

    My understanding is, in the old days, an agent could expect 25 to 35 business reply cards per 1000 mail pieces dropped.

    Now you're luck to get between 10 and 15 per 1000.
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    • Profile picture of the author JoshDavis
      We've seen direct mail work well with a variety of industries. There really is no trick to it - simply creating and testing the messages, the audience and the design is paramount. Lots of services now exist which allow you to bundle these services, and even spread out financing, so it's easier then ever. In addition, databases now exist (just like for cold calling) where you can qualify addresses by demographic (for example) as well as other methods. The data is there for businesses to continue to take advantage of direct mail effectively.

      As opposed to cold calling or or other methods, personally, I believe the return is much greater. Here is a video of a case study we did to track ROI on a direct mail campaign for a pizza shop if you're interested.

      The Mail Shark Case Studies: Call Tracking Results - YouTube
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  • Profile picture of the author Moneymaker2012
    Well if you live in ohio, every morning you'll find junk mails outside your door selling stuff you never would buy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lokahi
    I really do not think that mail is that effective any more. So many people toss it aside and throw it out that I feel that it may be a waste of time.
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    • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
      Originally Posted by Lokahi View Post

      I really do not think that mail is that effective any more. So many people toss it aside and throw it out that I feel that it may be a waste of time.
      Its a helluva lot more effective than SEO
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      • Profile picture of the author massiveray
        Originally Posted by Doran Peck View Post

        Its a helluva lot more effective than SEO
        Ha what a generalised, nonsense statement, in some industries SEO will wipe the floor with direct mail and the opposite is true in other industries, and guess what?

        In others they will be completely equal, and everything in between.
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        • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
          Originally Posted by massiveray View Post

          Ha what a generalised, nonsense statement, in some industries SEO will wipe the floor with direct mail and the opposite is true in other industries, and guess what?

          In others they will be completely equal, and everything in between.
          Sorry but that is wrong....and here's why.

          You can do all the SEO you want and get to page one for your local business....but your still massively crippled as far as marketing because the ONLY PEOPLE that will ever see your listing are the ones who have taken it upon themselves to actually go looking for help with... ( insert any industry here)

          In other words...after all that SEO...your client STILL can't do diddly until his prospect decides to take action, and go looking. That is not an advantageous position to be in no matter what the scenario....in fact its a piss poor position to be in.

          For every 1 guy that finally decides to go looking on Google for something...there are at least 500 more out there who need (insert industry here) just as bad as that guy, they just haven't figured it out yet.

          Direct mail goes straight to the eyeballs of that other 500. It offers an opportunity for your client to educate...influence the thinking process of prospects.

          Two guys walk into a town....any town on the face of the globe....your both selling super business widgets. ...there are...say 2306 businesses in this particular town. One week later the first guy gets his website up and ranked on page one. He will be seen prominently by all who search online for a super business widget. The second guy sets up his site too, but sends out 2306 postcards to every business in the area, and continues to do so every couple of weeks.

          Which guy is going to control the market for super business widgets sooner than the other guy?

          They say... "Build it and they will come"
          ....but...."Invite them, and they will come in a lot quicker and more often"

          In terms of SEO's ability to help a business take over the majority of their market...it will always, in every possible scenario, take a back seat to Direct Mail....TV and Radio....even word of mouth.

          For local marketing, SEO is a support player only, not the star player.

          Should SEO be overlooked or neglected? No I don't agree with that sentiment.

          ...but when I see statements like the OP made...I just have to slap my head at the sheer ignorance of it.

          ...but then I chuckle in the next breath as I remember again that this is an internet marketing forum, and any 16 year old kid can put up a website for a client and think they know something about marketing.
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          • Profile picture of the author massiveray
            Originally Posted by Doran Peck View Post

            Sorry but that is wrong....and here's why.

            You can do all the SEO you want and get to page one for your local business....but your still massively crippled as far as marketing because the ONLY PEOPLE that will ever see your listing are the ones who have taken it upon themselves to actually go looking for help with... ( insert any industry here)

            In other words...after all that SEO...your client STILL can't do diddly until his prospect decides to take action, and go looking. That is not an advantageous position to be in no matter what the scenario....in fact its a piss poor position to be in.

            For every 1 guy that finally decides to go looking on Google for something...there are at least 500 more out there who need (insert industry here) just as bad as that guy, they just haven't figured it out yet.

            Direct mail goes straight to the eyeballs of that other 500. It offers an opportunity for your client to educate...influence the thinking process of prospects.

            Two guys walk into a town....any town on the face of the globe....your both selling super business widgets. ...there are...say 2306 businesses in this particular town. One week later the first guy gets his website up and ranked on page one. He will be seen prominently by all who search online for a super business widget. The second guy sets up his site too, but sends out 2306 postcards to every business in the area, and continues to do so every couple of weeks.

            Which guy is going to control the market for super business widgets sooner than the other guy?

            They say... "Build it and they will come"
            ....but...."Invite them, and they will come in a lot quicker and more often"

            In terms of SEO's ability to help a business take over the majority of their market...it will always, in every possible scenario, take a back seat to Direct Mail....TV and Radio....even word of mouth.

            For local marketing, SEO is a support player only, not the star player.

            Should SEO be overlooked or neglected? No I don't agree with that sentiment.

            ...but when I see statements like the OP made...I just have to slap my head at the sheer ignorance of it.

            ...but then I chuckle in the next breath as I remember again that this is an internet marketing forum, and any 16 year old kid can put up a website for a client and think they know something about marketing.
            Sorry buy you are wrong..... Heres why...

            I have a client who sells integrated software services to refrigerator sales rooms.

            He gets around 10 searches per month and converts 9 of those visits to sales. Because he ranks at number 1 in his city for a service that only somebody who knew about it and needed it would search for it.

            SEO is not only his star player, it's his only player.

            I am not saying that he couldn't make sales through dm, what I am saying is that his audience are more receptive to Internet marketing than printed ads posted through their letterbox, which in all honesty would probably never be seen by the person who needs to see it (if you can even find them).

            Now in your example yes, direct mail is a better medium for the message, however for my client, SEO is a much more effective solution as everybody who needs his service searches for it online.

            Even though I love ambiguous made up scenarios, I'd rather see some stats on this 500 looking for it offline for every 1 online, because to be honest you're talking absolute bullshit.

            You need to know the audience of your clients and can't go around making blanket statements such as "dm is better than SEO because look at this example" it's just silly to assume that one form of marketing is more effective for every industry in every city in every country in the world.

            Depending on the service that you're selling, the mediums of which to reach their target audience differ wildly.

            I am not arguing against your point, I'm a huge advocate of direct mail, I am arguing against your ridiculous blanket statement. Which is simply not true.
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            • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
              Originally Posted by massiveray View Post

              Sorry buy you are wrong..... Heres why...

              I have a client who sells integrated software services to refrigerator sales rooms.

              He gets around 10 searches per month and converts 9 of those visits to sales. Because he ranks at number 1 in his city for a service that only somebody who knew about it and needed it would search for it.

              SEO is not only his star player, it's his only player.

              I am not saying that he couldn't make sales through dm, what I am saying is that his audience are more receptive to Internet marketing than printed ads posted through their letterbox, which in all honesty would probably never be seen by the person who needs to see it (if you can even find them).

              Now in your example yes, direct mail is a better medium for the message, however for my client, SEO is a much more effective solution as everybody who needs his service searches for it online.

              Even though I love ambiguous made up scenarios, I'd rather see some stats on this 500 looking for it offline for every 1 online, because to be honest you're talking absolute bullshit.

              You need to know the audience of your clients and can't go around making blanket statements such as "dm is better than SEO because look at this example" it's just silly to assume that one form of marketing is more effective for every industry in every city in every country in the world.

              Depending on the service that you're selling, the mediums of which to reach their target audience differ wildly.

              I am not arguing against your point, I'm a huge advocate of direct mail, I am arguing against your ridiculous blanket statement. Which is simply not true.


              "He gets around 10 searches per month and converts 9 of those visits to sales."

              Those numbers are really tiny and unimpressive, generally.....but comparatively I understand that depending on how "big ticket" the item is 9 sales a month could be outstanding. The 90% conversion however is awesome...imagine what his sales volume could be if he was "going to them" instead of just waiting around for them to come to him.

              I'd wager his sales take a hit if a competitor moved in who had outside salespeople, or used direct mail, radio, and other aggressive systems.

              "Now in your example yes, direct mail is a better medium for the message, however for my client, SEO is a much more effective solution as everybody who needs his service searches for it online."

              ...and what your forgetting is...that those people still needed his service all those days even before the day they went looking online for it.....which means, again he's vulnerable to a competitor who aggressively seeks to get to those people before they ever even go online.

              "Even though I love ambiguous made up scenarios, I'd rather see some stats on this 500 looking for it offline for every 1 online, because to be honest you're talking absolute bullshit."

              I said no such thing. I said 500 people that still need your service even though only 1 guy went looking for you.

              ...and that number I used "500" could be substituted for any number greater than 1 or whatever the number of total people that can use your service happens to be.

              So in a town of 2306 businesses... all of which need business card design for example,...when the first guy goes to Google....there are still 2305 out there that need you.

              or another examples, in a town of 42,063 people....there are 42,063 who need quality affordable shoes from "Uncle Bob's Shoe House" (...well according to Uncle Bob's Shoe House, anyway)...even though only 22 people found them via search last month.

              My apologies for not making my point clearer at first.

              In the end, no matter how you slice it or what industry your in....the SEO only factors into the game, once a prospect has decided to take action. until that point, Your balance sheet remains at $0 because your opportunity to convert a sale can't take place until the prospect decides to see you at the top of a search engine.

              Mechanisms that are pro-active...that go out and get in front of people are ALWAYS going to be a stronger advantage, than anything where your sitting waiting for someone else to make their first move, before you can make your first move...and its going to be that way every day of the week in ever industry, in every city in every country in the world.

              SEO is about as passive as you can get...(except for maybe the yellowpages)....and that's why statements like the OP made are monumentally obtuse.

              I have all my customers engage in a website at one level or another...websites themselves are among the greatest marketing tools in existence...However, they only work when they get seen....so in addition to SEO, we also promote the sites by direct mail, salespeople, employees, TV and radio and events.

              SEO alone takes way way to long to get local clients to "household name" status.
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  • Profile picture of the author hngems
    According to me and for me its still working for my need. The reason email marketing isn’t as effective for some is that they haven’t adapted. They’re using outdated strategies, ancient tactics and lousy copy. People don’t respond to boring emails. If your writing is so boring and dry peoples eyes begin to bleed while reading it, you won’t be able to craft effective email marketing messages
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  • Profile picture of the author CirrusCloud
    Mail is great way to reach customers but however, it also can back fire which most just throw away even before opening the envelope. Direct mail is very expensive too! From my experience, I have a roofing client here in the Northwest that spent $3000 in a month, yes a month, in the summer months to get him leads. I was very surprised to hear him say that! More and more people are switching to CL to generate leads more and more, this isn't a secret obviously. Just need to find someone/company to CL market your product/service. So the roofing client spent half the money he would spend on mailers with me and posted in numbers for him and got a sale the third day my company posted for him. Now he is completely off of mailers and on Craigslist with our service.
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  • Profile picture of the author pnathanrusso
    i think email is becoming every days more useless. Now with facebook that we can promote our business 100% focus to the customer we want to target, it has no sense to send thousands of email in my opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEOCreep
    I haven't checked my snail mail in three weeks. Unless your niche is targeting old ladies, I think you're best saving your money.

    I used to work at the Pittsburgh Convention Center. The Direct Marketing Association conference consisted of the largest group of awful human beings I've ever seen. These guys made **** Berry MLM crazies seem well adjusted.
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  • Profile picture of the author bobby_shahzad
    That's the wrong perception email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools to generate targeted leads........ Yo need to do a little research on Google about how to monetize your email marketing campaign people with limited or zero knowledge usually fails in converting reasonable income through email marketing but personally there are millionaires who manged to make income funnels using email marketing...........
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